Arguing that his country is not pursuing a sound strategy in Iraq, US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has said his first priority if he is elected will be to end the conflict.
In the speech at the International Trade Centre in Washington, Obama set out his goals.
“I will give our military a new mission on my first day in office – ending this war. Let me be clear, we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in it. We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months.
“The central front in the war on terror is not Iraq and it never was. And that’s why the 2nd goal of my new strategy will be taking the fight to Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he said.
Obama remains ahead of his rival Republican John McCain in opinion polls, with the latest surveys giving him a solid nine-point lead. However, on the specific question of Iraq, Americans are evenly divided between the two contenders.